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For Those Others

October 22, 2007

Hi Friends!  Here is a post written by my friend, the Valiant Vegan, who just returned from a Grecian cruise.  He was so excited about his food adventures, I begged him write it up and promised I would post the epicurean details of his vacay.  But I feel obligated to warn you:  This post may induce jealousy.  -Gourmet Grrl


 Thanks to a wandering spirit brought on by all of the hippies I grew up with in a famous New York town and a 7th grade biology teacher who showed me one too many PETA movies I grew up a vegan with a great love for travel.  I have been promising the Gourmet Grrl a blog entry for some time detailing my vegan epicurean exploits from the road and I am finally delivering.

I just returned from a family vacation to Italy and Greece and of course I was prepared to eat a lot of pasta pomodoro (past with tomato sauce) and insalatas mistas (mixed green salads).  Thanks to a lot of research, healthy questioning of many a restaurant staff member, and a little good luck, I found some amazing food that tickled all of my epicurean fancies.

On our first stop in Greece on the fabulous island of Mykonnos, we found an amazing little restaurant called Taverna Ta Kioupia.  I devoured a fabulous beet salad with some of the most succulent beets ever to cross my lips, followed by some authentic briny stuffed wine leaves filled with tasty rice, and closed out the meal with a dish of  fagioles gigantes (giant beans) that reminded me of lima beans that were so soft that they melted in my mouth.  I believe they were the best beans I have ever tasted!

In Athens, we took a day long tour and our local guide took us to the restaurant he and his family eats in which was an amazing treat.  Though they had a hard time believing that I did not eat fish and even more blasphemous, no feta cheese, they managed to serve me up some incredibly delightful food, highlighted by some oven roasted potatoes drizzled in olive oil and lemon sauce and an eggplant and tomato dish that was to die for.  Thank you Dennis Kokkotos!

After an average run of meals in Katakolon, we headed to Corfu, which advertises itself as well known for its kumquat liqueurs and deserts which I found mildly disgusting.  After sampling some of the kumquat “treats” we decided it was time for some local baklava.  It was dripping with honey and full of huge chunks of almonds and was as big as my head.  After devouring it with a lovely cup of espresso I went into a sugar coma.  So flaky, so crunchy, and so, so good!

We returned to Venice for a couple of days of exploration before heading back to the States.  We spent a night there originally before heading off to Greece and had an incredibly depressing meal which made Carrabba’s looking like a gourmet restaurant.  I was determined to find some tasty food and was not to be disappointed. 

First it was a plate of gnocchi pomodoro at a café on a small square for lunch that was delectable, but the best was yet to come.  For dinner we ate at Ristorante Ai Tre Ponti on the Grand Canal, I knew it would be good as soon as I walked in as I did not hear anyone speaking anything but Italian.  I splurged on a plate of polenta with mushrooms and an order of ziti with pesto.  The polenta was lightly fried and presented in strips and the mushrooms were all shapes and sizes, including porcinis and a giant mushroom (not a Portobello) that I had never tried before, and drizzled in olive oil.  I think I could eat this meal at least once a week.  In addition, the pesto was so tasty, creamy and licking your lips good.  After this most wonderful meal, Italy regained its place of greatness on my list of international food hot spots.

My last great meal may come as a bit of a shock.  We walked across the entire city to visit the Jewish Ghetto, where we stumbled across the Gam Gam Restaurant.  It being 3pm, when most restaurants are closed down, I expected to have no luck finding something to eat, but even though the restaurant was mostly empty, they were happy to whip me up a falafel sandwich with spicy eggplant, hummus, and all kind of veggies in a pita that was as thick as a hamburger bun.  It was amazing; I only had one better falafel sandwich in my life in a roadside stand in San Jose, CA.

All in all, this was a delightful gastronomical vacation.  I look forward to posting again soon, hopefully after a business trip to South Africa and Swaziland.  Happy dining!

-The Valiant Vegan

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandra permalink
    October 22, 2007 7:37 pm

    Since I am the Valiant Vegan’s sister and one of the lucky to be on the trip, I may be a tad bit biased, but “quite the fine blog”! You brought back great food memories! And now, I am going to fall into a post-trip depressed state… Looking forward to your next blog.

  2. Stacey permalink
    October 25, 2007 9:02 pm

    Wow! It was wonderful to read VV’s post. I love that most places were so game to accomodate his diet – and that most could envy what they came up with and wish, “Hey, I wish I had ordered that!” I really want that falafel sandwich. Thanks, VV, for posting.

  3. Eva permalink
    April 25, 2008 2:01 pm

    Great entry! Makes me all the more excited for my upcoming trip to the vegetarian friendly Greece. I leave tomorrow… this is helpful, but making it difficult to concentrate on these last few things I need to finish up before I leave the country!

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